Hey, nail art fans! Check out these 10 runway looks from New York Fashion Week

Nicole Miller - FW12 nails

Can I talk about nail art (a.k.a. “nart”) even if I don’t wear it myself? Because just like I can appreciate the artistry behind a fine Hèrmes fragrance—yet stick to my tacky J.Lo Glow for real life—I’m fascinated by the designs that are adorning nails these days. (Too bad my nails would chip and ruin them in less than 24 hours… which is why I don’t really ever stray from the solid pale pink/bright red manicure palette. Maaaaybe a coral in the summer when I want to live it up.)

Anyway, even though I never got into this trend, and the people at Style.com said they’ve already moved on, one look at the F/W ’12 runways will tell you: it’s not over yet. And won’t be for a while. If you’re looking for some fresh inspiration, here are 10 runway looks to inspire you.

1. Fishnet tips at Joy Cioci

Joy Cioci FW12 nails Hey, nail art fans! Check out these 10 runway looks from New York Fashion Week

Look closely at the tips—not only are they that new almond shape I’ve been talking about, but that’s actual fishnet material! On the base, the models wore CND nail polish in Putty, and then Blackjack “iced” on top of the fishnet.

2. Velvet nails at Ruffian

Ruffian FW12 nails Hey, nail art fans! Check out these 10 runway looks from New York Fashion Week

Oh Em Gee. That’s velvet! It was a custom job by M.A.C, but hopefully they (or some other brand) will come out with velvet nail stickers for the masses soon.

3. Metallic tips at Behnaz Sarafpour

Behnaz Sarafpour FW12 nails Hey, nail art fans! Check out these 10 runway looks from New York Fashion Week

I feel like tone-on-tone contrasting tips is the next evolution of nail art. It’s less in your face than the moons, you know? This version is by CND, and you can get the look with either Gold Chrome or Silver Chrome.

4. Polka dots at Kate Spade

Kate Spade FW12 nails Hey, nail art fans! Check out these 10 runway looks from New York Fashion Week

Fun! These are a Deborah Lippmann creation that I really think you could do at home—see how the dots are all different sizes? They don’t have to be perfect. The shades are Fade to Black for the base, and I’m Not Innocent (which is a peach) for the dots. Make sure to keep the tips rounded.

5. Starry night nails at Rachel Antonoff

Rachel Antonoff FW12 nails 2 Hey, nail art fans! Check out these 10 runway looks from New York Fashion Week

This is the first of two amaze looks from this show (apparently the designer is a nail fanatic herself). To get the look, use CND Colour in Midnight Sapphire, and then “sponge” both Eclectic Purple and Studio White on top, followed by CND Effects in Sapphire Sparkle. Sounds labour-intensive, but I love the result.

6. Fern patterns at Rachel Antonoff

Rachel Antonoff FW12 nails Hey, nail art fans! Check out these 10 runway looks from New York Fashion Week

FASHION already has a how-to of this look here. The shades are CND Colour in Flashpoint (for the red) and then hand-painted ferns (to match the ones on the clothes) using Brilliant White and Anchor Blue.

7. Stripes at Betsey Johnson

Betsey Johnson FW12 nails Hey, nail art fans! Check out these 10 runway looks from New York Fashion Week

Did you know that Betsey is partnering up with Sephora and OPI to launch a nail polish collection? (I think it’s just in the U.S., and will hit stores next month.) These nails were created with one of the shades, Sparkling Personality (the silver), and then black (not sure which brand) for the base.

8. Custom-made Minx prints at Calla

Calla FW12 nails Hey, nail art fans! Check out these 10 runway looks from New York Fashion Week

You could argue that this is too matchy-matchy. And you wouldn’t be wrong. However, let’s just appreciate that the beauty world is even capable of manufacturing such a thing: custom-made Minx prints that are replicas of the fabrics in the collection.

9. Razzle dazzle nails at The Blonds

The Blonds FW12 nails Hey, nail art fans! Check out these 10 runway looks from New York Fashion Week

This show actually had 20—TWENTY!—different sets of nail tips, all from CND and each made to match a different model’s outfit. The theme was “’60s Playboy glamour infused with razzle dazzle.” I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of digging it.

10. The time machine mani at Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller FW12 nails Hey, nail art fans! Check out these 10 runway looks from New York Fashion Week

Nicole always does a cool nail look, and this one was meant to look hand-crafted with the colourful swirls. You’ll need an eyeliner brush to DIY, along with CND Colours in Plumville, Electric Orange, Bicycle Yellow and Anchor Blue.

Tell me:

Are you pro nail art or sticking with solids?
Which of these designs (if any) would you actually wear?
What’s your go-to nail look?


Tuesday, February 21/2012 at 10:43 pm

While my checkbook wouldn’t thank you for this website (400-500$ in the past few days since stumbling upon your wise beauty finds), nor would my recent lack of sleep due to clicking from link to link to link – I know it’s changed my life :)
I actually came across your blog when searching for ombre/balayage hair. You’ve pointed out numerous times that it’s completely over and soooo 2010, but here in Wisconsin it still hasn’t made a real appearance (which is true for fashion, music…pretty much everything). We’re about 2-3 years behind any trend. I came to terms with this after moving back up here from Miami- I gave up fashion mags and style when I realized people are more confused if you’re NOT wearing sweats while shopping and running errands. Anyways- since finding your blog I’ve realized how much I missed all of these fun tips, reviews, as well as trying to be (at least a little bit) fashionable. Thus far I’ve gotten a really fun mani that I saw on your site (totally going for the metallic tips next), ordered child, kai(not sure if that was one you loved but had to try), ordered the phyto mousse, Essie A Crewed, more Benefit They’re Real(this was the one exception to my not staying hip with the trends since I’ve been a huge fan for a while now), a mason pearson brush(my current keeps falling apart so it only seemed fair) and I’m debating osis dust it, anti gravity, clean dry shampoo, and the tresseme shampoo. I am not blessed with thick hair either. I still plan on doing some variation of the ombre/balayage…which I’m sure you disapprove of….but honestly, I have yet to see one actual person sport this trend in the midwest….so I think it should be allowed. Thanks again & keep doing what you’re doing!!!!!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Wednesday, February 22/2012 at 12:04 pm

Oh my goodness your comment made my day! (Although sorry to be such an enabler – ha!) I think you can certainly still get away with Ombre… I mean, so many celebrities still have it so it’s not like it’s out of style yet. (And I don’t think the balayage look will ever truly go “out,” since that’s more like classic Gisele hair.) I would just try to do it in a tone on tone way, not extreme high contrast.

Hope you enjoy the products I recommended! I don’t have Kai but just started wearing another cult scent called If by Apothia – if you like Child it’s somewhat similar.


Wednesday, February 22/2012 at 12:55 am

My favourite, bar none, is the starry night one. So very pretty and wearable, if not do-able for spazzy people like me! Plus, makes me think of van gogh (love the painting too!).


Wednesday, February 22/2012 at 6:56 am

The first model is gorgeous! The others are also beautiful <3


Nomadic D
Wednesday, February 22/2012 at 9:03 am

I love the metallic tips! Seriously, if that was an easy DIY I’d be D-ingIM all the time.



Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Wednesday, February 22/2012 at 11:51 am

I will keep an eye out for you!


Wednesday, February 22/2012 at 11:11 am

Wowzers, thanks for the post Michelle! :)


Wednesday, February 22/2012 at 11:14 am

I know this is about nails, but I love the eyeshadow used on the model for Nicole Miller’s show! It’s the perfect coppery brown color and goes so well with that eye color! Do you by chance know what the shade is?

With that being said, I like the striped nail art from Betsy Johnson’s show. It makes the nails look like they’re liquid metal. At first glance I thought it was a really shiny multifaceted shade of black – but it’s just different tones carefully applied in stripes. I am definitely going to try this! Very unique. :)


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Wednesday, February 22/2012 at 11:49 am

Hi! It’s a M.A.C pressed pigment called “Deeply Dashing.” Applied wet and then buffed out around the eye. Hope that helps!


Wednesday, February 22/2012 at 12:25 pm

I knew I could count on you! Thanks Michelle. :)


Wednesday, February 22/2012 at 3:15 pm

Oooh, love the starry night… I used to do a version of this, but it wasn’t this subtle or pretty.

Vanity True Confession: My nails were pretty much permanently painted for about 18 years, starting at age 12 when I did it to stop biting my nails. I was obsessed. NO chips, touched up nightly. Then one day I just snapped; this was taking up too much of my life! And… I just never went back. Too much time & effort for chippy, chippy fingers. Toes, however… mine haven’t seen a nude nail since… ever?


Wednesday, February 22/2012 at 5:15 pm

I stick to one color nails, however I tried more fun colors in summer, like coral, blue, gold etc. Most of the time I stick to pinks and reds. From time to time I do french. I know u dissaprove I still like it because it looks clean and pretty. Yes pretty:) I would probably try starry night because it’s similar to what I used last summer. I might also go with the reverse french with gold tips.


Melissa C
Thursday, February 23/2012 at 9:22 am

The most I’ve been able to accomplish in the world of “Nart” is a flower that only looks like a flower when you squint and tilt your head to the side :)
I don’t know if it’s been mentioned on your blog before but there’s a great Youtube channel called Cutepolish that does some fab designs for all the nail art fans out there.


Saturday, February 25/2012 at 11:48 pm

I love the nart! Lately I’ve been doing newspaper nails a lot (I work as a copy editor for a large daily in the U.S.) Cute and my boss can’t complain it’s unprofessional since I’m just decorating myself in my work! (There’s a simple how-to here: http://www.howdoesshe.com/newspaper-nails )


Clara Chan
Friday, July 27/2012 at 2:29 pm

hi, I’m a complete amateur, but I now love all this wild and beautiful nail polish. My problem is, the only websites of nail art and education seem to be for professionals, not us amateurs. I am dying to find out how to protect my nail polish, when I put on Zoya, which is fabulous, but when I bought Sally Hansen diamond strength nail polish hardener, which is supposed to be matte, and clear, to go over the nail polish, and protect it, instead the Sally Hansen product turns out to be glittery silver, and not clear at all! It ruined my nail polish! And it was advertised as nail hardener, and not a separate polish of its own! It’s advertised all over the web that way! So I feel really cheated, and my nail polishes ruined, because I have glittery glitter on my nails covering up my real polish. So I need to know the rules of the game, what to really use to protect and harden your nail polish, instead of this stupid junk I just got sold. (Talk about false advertising)what do you guys suggest? Are there any amateur fan mail art websites, where everybody discusses all this and give each other advice? I’d really like to know .I don’t want to just go on YouTube, and watch videos.got any suggestions about amateur fan mail art websites for forumns and discussion? Thanks very much everybody! Hooray for nail art! :)


Clara Chan
Friday, July 27/2012 at 3:05 pm

I love the starry nights, and the razzle-dazzle. I tend to love strange plums, purple, off purple, anything with hidden fire and luminescence, all kinds of weird stuff but mostly fantastic unusual shades; there are some French nail polish sites that blow my mind. And my pocketbook. I love metallic, all different shades of mirror, metallic metal gold, pink gold, very bright blue, lovely shades of green, I picked up a professional one called “emerald green” which is a dark metallic green. Wow I love Essie,everything you can think of. But I’ve been having a hard time finding really good golds and really good gold metallic.I have a limited pocketbook, and I can’t spend $10 all the time for one small bottle, or 15 or $30. I know some of the really designer ones can get expensive.so yes, I often haunt Amazon.com, for sales. But yes, I love blue and green bright neon yellow, very nontraditional shades. Not so much to read anymore unless it’s very weird and fantastic. Oh I love tangerine and orange! Some of these I can’t even find. Tangerine and orange are not as easy to find, plus good yellows. And the blues and greens are one of my faves. As you can see, I am a color fanatic. Just love it! But yes, I’m such an amateur and beginner, I really need places to get more educated and discuss it with other people who are nail art fans. Thanks a lot, I love your website! :O


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